Old West History Archives


Did you know that back in the 1870’s the United States was ruled by an Emperor? Well, even back then most of the citizens didn’t know it. Our Emperor was Emperor Norton, and he lived in San Francisco.

If you visit this link you’ll get the full story:



Friday I picked up a DVD of the mini series TV adaption of Louis L’Amour’s Sackett books…I got it at Walmart for $5.00.

And Saturday afternoon I watched it. It was made in 1979. The movie starred Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Glenn Ford and Ben Johnson as well as a slew of other great character actors like Slim Pickens, Jack Elam and Buck Taylor.

I had watched it when it originally came out, but sure did enjoy seeing Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott back when they were much younger…just as I was.

It was well worth the $5.00 investment.

What ever happened to Jeff Osterhgage who played Tyrel Sackett?


We’ve all heard about bringing a knife to a gun fight. Well, on this date back in 1900 that’s just what James, Morgan, Virgil and Wyatt’s little brother did.

After participating in Wyatt’s ride of vengeance because of the cowboy’s wounding of Virgil and killing Morgan, Warren went to live with his parents in Colton, California

With Warren regularly getting into trouble, his father got fed up with him and sent him packing. Warren ended up in Willcox, Arizona where he did a little cowboying and a lot of drinking. On July 6, 1900, Warren got crossways with a John Boyet. Some say it was because of a woman, others say it was a carry-over from the Tombstone days. In a confrontation, Warren kept pushing Boyet, until Boyet finally pulled his gun and killed Warren. This was a case of bringing a knife to a gunfight. For, it was discovered that Warren didn’t have a gun. But he did have a knife.

It seems that, to his dying day, Warren was trying to live up to the reputation of his brothers Wyatt and Virgil by being able to buffalo a man, and disarm him.


In 1864 Orlando Robbins became the deputy sheriff of the gold mining town of Idaho City, Idaho. With the Civil War taking place in the east, the miners were polarized into Union and Confederate camps. Robbins’ major job was separating drunken miners supporting their individual cause.

As Independence Day approached, the Confederate supporters said they were not going to allow any Yankee sing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Now, Robbins, a Union supporter, wasn’t going to let anyone tell him what to do. So, on July 4, 1864 Orlando Robbins walked into a tavern of southern sympathizers, climbed on a pool table, pulled his two pistols, and with the tavern silent started singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” After finishing, he walked out, and the crowd parted like the Red Sea for Moses.

Orlando continued as a lawman, and in his 60’s he was dealing with outlaws one third his age. Truly, Orlando Robbins was as great a hero as any of the more famous Old West lawmen.


Did you know that on this date back in 1854 the first cattle drive from Texas arrived in New York City? You would if you’re a subscriber to This Week In The Old West.

In case you’re not, here’s the story:
This cattle drive wasn’t done by a Texas cowboy, but an English immigrant who grew up in Illinois, by the name of Thomas Ponting.

Ponting wasn’t a novice around cattle. As a youth in England he drove cattle to London. And later in Illinois he drove cattle up to Wisconsin. Hearing about cheap cattle in Texas, he and partner Washington Malone went down there and bought 800 longhorn cattle.

Four months after their start they got to Illinois. It was winter. So they took time to fatten the cattle on corn. In the spring Ponting sold all but 150 of the longhorns. Those 150 he wanted to take to New York. When they got to Muncie,

Indiana Pointing got the idea of transporting them the rest of the way by rail car.

When they arrived in New York, they were taken to the Hundred Street Market and auctioned off.

Although Pointing’s cattle drive was a great feat in itself, his greatest achievement was to show that cattle could be brought 2,000 miles from Texas and sold at a profit. And with this a new page in Old West history was opened.

If you’re interested in receiving a story like this via email each Sunday, go to www.ThisWeekInTheOldWest.com. It’s free.

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